“Following the series of strikes of the last days, the ground forces are extending the ground operation tonight,” announced military spokesman Daniel Hagari yesterday after two straight nights of tank incursions into Gaza.
Hamas has vowed to confront the attacks with “full force”. “The Al-Qassam brigades and all the Palestinian resistance forces are completely ready to confront (Israel’s) aggression with full force and frustrate its incursions,” they said today.
Israel has unleashed one of its fiercest bombardments in Gaza, cutting off phone and internet links across the strip. They have also accused Hamas of operating from inside a hospital, a charge that the group has denied.
Over 1,400, mostly civilians, have died in Israel, according to officials. In the Gaza strip, at least 7,326 people have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory strikes, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. These included mainly civilians and many of them children.
The UN General Assembly has called for an “immediate humanitarian truce” in Gaza. Hamas welcomed the truce call, but Israel and the US critcised the non-binding resolution for failing to mention Hamas. It received 120 votes in favour, 14 against and 45 abstentions (including India) from UN members.
The UN chief warned that Gaza faces “an unprecedented avalanche of human suffering” due to lack of food, water and power. “I repeat my call for a humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages, and the delivery of life-saving supplies,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
Hundreds of protesters on Friday forced shut the Grand Central Terminal in New York, one of the city’s major transit hubs, demanding a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Visuals on social media showed protesters coming out of the railway station and on the streets.
The White House said the US backs a ceasefire to allow aid to get into Gaza. “We would support humanitarian pauses for stuff getting in, as well as for people getting out, and that includes pushing for fuel to get in and for the restoration of electrical power,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
The Hamas government said Israel “cut communications and most of the internet” across the Gaza Strip today. The government’s media office accused Israel of taking the measure “to perpetrate massacres with bloody retaliatory strikes from the air, land and sea,” as heavy strikes hit northern Gaza.
With inputs from NDTV